Paths to Integrating Campus Electronic Security Systems

An electronic security migration plan will ensure organizations transitioning from analog to digital select systems that interoperate. A good plan will also help to evaluate the infrastructure used to support the technology.

In this digital age, virtually all devices are running on some type of digital network, whether they are hard wired or wireless. Electronic security systems currently in place on many campuses are dated; they do not integrate or “talk” with today’s digital environment. The challenge of how to migrate these systems from analog to digital solutions utilizing an IT network can become overwhelming and costly for university, hospital and school district IT departments. Many of the current devices and systems are antiquated and the life cycle is near expiration. Replacing analog devices that are no longer being manufactured with new digital devices poses security planning and budgeting challenges.

Migrating existing electronic security systems to a fully digital environment can deliver numerous advantages for any organization. New technologies offer many desirable features by allowing devices to “talk” to each other, unlocking capabilities only dreamed of a decade ago. As a new tablet has more computing power than a two-year-old desktop computer (at a fraction of the cost), electronic security systems have vast advantages over older, analog models.

Unfortunately, campuses that currently have electronic security systems such as video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, visitor management, emergency blue light photos and others often are utilizing disparate or independent ones that don’t communicate with each other. Security system migration planning can address this challenge, enabling the institution to more easily upgrade its technology.

Conduct an Initial Security Assessment
The first step is to observe and analyze the existing security structures, including an institution’s electronic security systems and components. It is important to address current and future security requirements and demands.

Organizations that understand the need for initial security assessments must then decide if they will move to digital security enterprise systems. Once they make this determination, further challenges arise as vital decisions must be made in order to create a digital security system that will function efficiently and fluently while remaining future-proofed and adaptable to changing technologies.

Additional challenges faced in these types of assessments are the existing campus IT network and determining if there is sufficient bandwidth to allow for the transmission of digital security data. Once the quantity of devices to be added to the network is identified, the data to be transmitted can be calculated, and the expansion or addition to the IT backbone/network can be defined.

In many situations, the telecom rooms must be expanded to accommodate additional network equipment, and conduits and/or cable trays may need to be installed to manage the additional wiring. The evaluation of adequate electrical power and environmental control (temperature and humidity) for these locations is also necessary.

Security command centers may face similar challenges to those experienced by the telecom rooms. No longer just a desk and a few monitors, today’s media-rich digital command-and-control communication hubs now monitor and archive data from a vast array of electronic security systems.

Many of these systems reach beyond electronic security systems and incorporate other technology monitoring, such as lighting, mechanical systems, digital signage and fire systems. By having the capability to monitor and manage multiple systems in one location, campuses can leverage the situational awareness and forensic data to deter, respond and recover more effectively and efficiently.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo